FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, June 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Advocates for abortion access in New Brunswick have won a bid to challenge the government’s abortion policy through the province’s human rights commission, reports the CBC.
Unlike the rest of Canada, New Brunswick only pays for abortions that are conducted in hospitals, which require a referral from two doctors who must deem the abortion “medically necessary.”
The government has defended the policy, and a decade-long challenge by leading abortionist Henry Morgentaler, who wants the public to fund his private Fredericton facility, is still before the courts.
As a result, an unnamed doctor filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, arguing that the policy is discriminatory and impedes her in offering patients the full range of medical services.
After the Human Rights Commission announced in the fall that it would launch an inquiry, the NB government and its Ministry of Health tried to have the complaint dismissed.
But according to CBC, Robert Breen, the chair of the province’s Labour Employment Board, ruled last month that the complaint may proceed. While Breen agreed that the doctor could not bring the complaint on behalf of her patients, he said she is within her rights to complain that her provision of medical services is impeded.
The commission has yet to set a date to hear the complaint.
When the Human Rights Commission announced their investigation in the fall, they indicated it would likely proceed in private, and would not involve public hearings or welcome public submissions.
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews he’s concerned about the case’s prospects given the human rights commissions’ opposition to traditional values over the years. “Whenever any case goes to them to be adjudicated, I’m very wary about the possibility of the good guys winning,” he said.
“Morgentaler’s not going to stop until he gets what he wants,” he continued. “Fortunately the New Brunswick government’s been standing firm for many years and we’re very happy that they have.”
In the fall, Peter Ryan of NB Right to Life told LifeSiteNews that the province allows “abortion-on-demand” despite the policy restricting abortions to those that are “medically necessary.”
“Doctors are defrauding the Medicare system by reporting that these cases are medically necessary when everybody knows they are not,” he explained.
He also criticized a “myth” spread through the media that abortions are only done in New Brunswick hospitals up to 12 weeks. “That is not true. … It’s been around for several years. I keep trying to correct it in the media,” he said. “It just adds to the myth of how strict New Brunswick supposedly is.”